Staff at FCA look to unionise following ‘growing disenchantment’ with leaders

Staff at the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have launched a formal petition for union recognition following months of growing disenchantment with the regulator’s leadership, according to a union.

Unite said staff want to be represented by an independent trade union after new pay proposals will leave three out of four workers facing pay cuts of 10%, it is claimed.

The union revealed it has seen a significant rise in membership at the regulator and called on bosses to hear the concerns of its workforce.

A petition has been set up to gauge interest, with the results to be presented to the organisation responsible for regulating the UK’s financial sector.

Staff are said to be unhappy with chief executive Nikhil Rathi’s transformation plans, which they believe will see wages cut but are unlikely to affect the FCA’s leadership team.

Dominic Hook, Unite national officer, said: “Staff across the FCA are joining Unite in unprecedented numbers and want their voices heard.

“The significant growth in trade union membership demonstrates that the recognition of an independent trade union at the FCA is long overdue.”

He added: “Staff at the FCA are demoralised by the consultation launched by the CEO in September and feel it is a poor way to reward FCA staff who worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to deliver credit card and mortgage payment holidays that were a lifeline to people up and down the country.”

FCA chief executive Nikhil Rathi (FCA/PA)
FCA chief executive Nikhil Rathi (FCA/PA)

According to staff, morale has plummeted in recent months, resignations are rising on a daily basis and recruitment is failing to keep up.

Unite members are angered that Mr Rathi, currently paid more than £455,000, has proposed allowing the highest paid FCA staff to be paid more to avoid caps on the tax breaks for the largest pension pot holders.

Formal communication events have attracted waves of criticism, leading to union membership increasing four-fold, Unite said.

The Bank of England and the Pensions Regulator already formally recognise trade unions.

An FCA spokesperson said: “Our colleagues have always had a choice about how they are represented and some are members of a trade union.

“There is an agreed process for a trade union seeking recognition.”

Sources at the organisation pointed out that lower paid workers at the FCA can expect to see an increase in base pay, although bonuses are set to be scrapped, leading to overall cuts in pay.

The FCA already has an internal staff committee made up of employee and management representatives, which bosses are said to be liaising with throughout the consultation.